tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS December 9, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
i'll see you dark and early. here now is >> pelley: tonight, the senate's scathing report on c.i.a. interrogation of terror suspects. >> history will judge us by the willingness to face an ugly truth and say never again. >> pelley: but the c.i.a. denies it broke the law in carrying out what many call torture. we'll have extensive coverage with reports from nancy cordes and bob orr, and a rebuttal from former c.i.a. insider michael morell. don dahler on a devastating storm hitting the northeast. >> this haebt worst, i think, since surcane sandy. >> mark phillips on king james day. king james meets future king william in kings county. and jim axelrod with the christmas light that's been shining for half a century. ♪ route ofl with your nose so
bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight ♪ captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. the senate intelligence committee laid it all out for the world to see-- an accounting of the c.i.a.'s extreme interrogation of terror suspects after 9/11. today, the panel, controlled by democrats, released the results of a six-year investigation that found the agency misled the president and congress. the report concluded that better intelligence could have been obtained by more humane methods. we'll begin tonight with nancy cordes. >> a 500-page executive summary. >> reporter: in a one-hour speech, senate intelligence chairman dianne feinstein laid out her case, that the c.i.a.'s interrogation program after 9/11 was far more brutal than the agency claimed. >> interrogators and guards used what they called "rough
take-downs" in which a detainee was grabbed from a cell, clothes cut off, hooded, and dragged up and down a dirt hallway while being slapped and punched. >> reporter: her report says abu zubaydah, a top al qaeda associate, spent a total of 266 hours in a large coffin-sized confinement box. at one point, waterboarding left him completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth. in awcial the report says, at least 39 prisoners were subjected to harsh inderogation between 2002 and 2009, sometimes before conventionality methods had been exhausted. 9/11 mastermind khalid sheikh mohammed endured a series of near-drownings which prompted him to share false intelligence he later recanted. the tactics were devised by a pair of outside psychologists referred to as dunbar and zwiegert. the report claims neither had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either
have specialized knowledge of al qaeda. yet the c.i.a. eventually outsowrsd 85% of the workforce for detention and interrogation to their company, paying them $81 million. at one detention site in afghanistan, the report says detainees were kept in total darkness, shackle to the wall in 45-degree temperatures. one prisoner died in 2002, apparently from hypothermia. the report's most damning conclusion is that the tactics were ineffective. despite the c.i.a.'s claim that 20 detainees subjected to them shared crucial information, some of which led to osama bin laden. >> our staff reviewed every one of the 20 cases, and not a single case holds up. >> reporter: the report claims the c.i.a. misled congress and the administration about where it was getting its intelligence in order to justify the program. in fact, scott, congressional investigators determined that president bush himself was not
fully briefed about these tactics until 2006, four years after the program started. >> pelley: nancy, thanks. the c.i.a. defended itself today, and we have that from justice correspondent bob orr. >> reporter: just six days after 9/11, with fears of a follow-up attack, the central intelligence agency was ordered by president bush to hunt down al qaeda suspects. in quickly building an unprecedented and detention and interrogation operation, the c.i.a. admitted the agency made mistakes. in its response to the senate report, the c.i.a. said it was unprepared, overwhelmed, and did not have a cadre of trained interrogators when the program began in 2002. and poor oversight and grim conditions contribute to the death of detainee gul rahman. but the c.i.a. strongly refuted the senate committee's claims that the agency acted outside of the law and routinely misled the government about the effectiveness of the program.
in a statement, c.i.a. director john brennan said detainees who underwent enhanced interrogation techniques provided intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. the c.i.a. pointed to specific cases involving the interrogations of high-profile suspects. after abu zubaydah was captured in 2002 and waterboarded, he gave up information that helped lead to the raeft o a senior al qaeda operative, and the identification of khalid sheikh mohammed as the architect of 9/11. after mohammad was captured, he was waterboarded 183 times. the c.i.a. said he did give up the names of multiple al qaeda terrorists and information about a planned show bomb attack and a plot on london's heathrow airport. he also helped the c.i.a. zero in on osama bin laden. it took the interrogations of mohammad and two other terrorists to identify the currier which led the c.i.a. to
bin laden's hideout in afghanistan. while the report had new details, it will not lead to additional charges. >> pelley: bob, thank you. one senate republican supporting the report is john mccain. he was shot down over north vietnam in 1967 and as a p.o.w., he was tortured more than five years. >> i have long believed some of these practices amounted to torture as a reasonable person would define it, especially but not only the practice of waterboarding, which is a mock execution and an exquisite form of torture. i know from personal experience, that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. i know that victimes of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe
it. i know they will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe it will stop their suffering. >> pelley: the c.i.a. director who authorized enhanced interrogation techniques was george tenet. here's what tenet had to say on "60 minutes" in 2007 about whether the u.s. was engaged in torture. >> well, we don't torture people. let me say that again to you. we don't torture people. okay. >> pelley: come on, george. >> we don't torture people. >> khalid sheikh mohammed. >> we don't torture people. >> pelley: waterboarding. it's torture. >> i don't talk about techniques and we don't torture people. listen to me. i want you to listen to me. the context is it's post-9/11. i've got reports of nuclear weapons in new york city. apartment buildings that are going to be blown up. planes that are going to fly into airports all over gene. plot lines that i don't know-- i don't know what's going on inside the united states and i'm struggling to find out where the
next disaster is going to occur. everybody forgets one central strl context of what we lived through-- the palpable fear that we felt on the basis of the fact that there was so much we did not know. >> pelley: the. >> pelley: but what what you're essentially saying is some people need to be tortured. >> no, i did not say that. i did not say that. >> pelley: you're telling me enhanced interrogation-- >> i did not say that. we do not-- listen to me. >> you called it in the book enhanced interrogation. >> that's a euphemism. i'm not having a semantic debate with you. >> pelley: anybody ever die in the interrogation program? >> no. >> pelley: you're sure of that. yeah, in this program that you and i are talking about, no. >> pelley: have you ever seen any of these interrogations done? >> no. >> reporter: didn't you feel like it was your responsibility to know what you were signing off on? >> i'm not a voier. i understand what i was signing off on. >> pelley: lose any sleep over
it? >> of course, you do. of course, you lose sleet sleepover it. you're on new territory. but that's not the point. what's this tension? so the tension is i've just lived through 3,000 people dyi dying. this is not a clinical exercise. maybe for you guys it's a clinical exercise. not for me. 3,000 people died, friends died. now i'm going to sit back-- and then everybody says, you idiots don't know how to connect the dots. >> pelley: one of the people who worked for george tenet is michael morell, who later rose to become acting director of the c.i.a. mr. morrell is our cbs news senior security contributor, but tonight in this context, we want to be clear that mr. morrell is speaking in defense of the c.i.a. he oversaw preparation of the c.i.a. rebuttal of the senate report. mr. morrell, did the c.i.a. mislead the white house and the congress? >> scott, not at all. the democratic report is deeply flawed. many of its main conclusions are
simply not correct. and much of the context of the times and much of the discussion that took place in the-- inside the executive branch and with the congress about this program is not in this report, scott. >> pelley: how are c.i.a. officers reacting to this dade taid? >> this is what i am most worried about, scott. we-- what we had here were c.i.a. officers who were acting under the direction of the president of the united states and who were told by the department of justice at the time that this was legal, that this was not torture. now the rug is being pulled out from under them. so now they're sitting there thinking what is going to be pulled out from us in the future? and that is not a place you want your intelligence agency to be. >> pelley: how much conversation was there ahead of time with the president and the senior leaders at the white house about what was going to be in bounds and what out of bounds? >> one of the things that's missing in the democratic report is-- is the fact that there were
extensive discussions with the leadership of the two intelligence committees in congress. and when those discussions occurred, very early on in the program, scott, there was not opposition. in fact, there were some members of congress who didn't think we were going far enough. >> pelley: we just heard john mccain describe this as shameful. are you ashamed? >> no, i'm not, scott. un, scott, this-- this-- this boildz down to me to a question of morality. that's what we should be talking about here. was this the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do? this report never deals with that question. and this is not an easy question, scott. >> pelley: what's your answer? >> my answer is that i don't believe that anybody can honestly tell you, including president obama, clght senator feinstein-- exactly what they would have done if they had put in president bush's shoes. i don't think anybody can tell you that. >> pelley: michael morell, former acting director of the
c.i.a., thank you very much. >> thanks, scott. >> pelley: now moving on to another big story tonight. a nor'easter is pounding the coast from virginia to maine. more than 860 flights have been cancel, nearly 2500 delayed. don dahler is in the middle of it. >> reporter: a combination of high tide and up to three inches of rain in coastal communities turned autos into amphibians and roads into risky places. an icy connecticut saw 130 accidents during the morning commute. this sliding bus sent six people to the hospital. one person died in a pileup involving five tractor trailers in upstate new york. up and down the east coast, drivers were forced to avoid floating obstacles. ship bottom new jersey. >> as the waters rise, a it could affect vehicles or people waking around it could affect their safety as well. >> reporter: steven sotloff has lived on long beach island
since 19 qain. >> this has been the worst i think since hurricane sandy. we usually get water-covered roads but this is really starting to come up my steps here. >> reporter: in situate, massachusetts, huge waves crashed against the seawalls, sending walls of water into homes. even though it has quieted down considerably here on the jersey shore, it's not over. scott, forecasters say that this system will stay over parts of the east coast until thursday. >> pelley: don taylor, thank you very much, don. the obamacare adviser who called more thans stupid does a mea culpa. and an nfl star breaks his back when the cbs evening news continues. can you help me up? [ snow intensifies ] [ sleighbells ring in the distance ]
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and call is the stupidity of the american voter or whatever, but basically, that was really critical to getting it to pass. i made uninformed and glib comments. >> reporter: gruber said in several speeches he pretended to be more of a political insider than he was at the time. >> it's never appropriate to make ones self smarter by demeaning others. >> reporter: but republicans weren't buying he was out of the loop. they noted he made 21 trips to the white house and earned almost $400,000 as an administration consultant. congressman trey gowdy cited several different gruber comments on the ways voters had been misled. >> all of these quotes i just read you, you didn't mean a single one of them, night one. >> what i said, congressman, is that i was using glib, thoughtless, and really inexcusable language. >> well, you used them a lot. >> reporter: democrats and gruber deny that they ever hid any details about obamacare. scott, democrats say whatever gruber claimed in those speerchgz obamacare was widely debated and republicans exwhiew
exactly how it was financed. >> pelley: wyatt, thank you. what happens when a royal visit coincides with a nationwide protest? that's next. a man who doesn't stand still. but jim has afib, atrial fibrillation an irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. that puts jim at a greater risk of stroke. for years, jim's medicine tied him to a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but now, with once-a-day xarelto®, jim's on the move.
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seriously? alka-seltzer plus cold and cough fights your worst cold symptoms plus your runny nose. oh, what a relief it is. >> pelley: protests against police are continuing. today, college students marched in memphis. last night, in berkeley, california, hundreds blocked a major highway. the protests follow grand jury decisions clearly white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men. the duke and duchess of cambridge were caught up in all of this in ne today, and here's mark phillips. >> reporter: once royals may have met other royals at a glittering ball at the palace. now they meet at the ball game in brooklyn. >> the duke and duchess of cambridge. >> reporter: prince william, destined to be the king of the court of st. james in london, met lebron james, already called "the king of the court" in the n.b.a. although this king james would
have been a total unknown to a prince who had never been to a basketball game before, but when you dip into the unfamiliar, you never know what you'll get. >> i can't breathe! i can't breathe! >> reporter: around this game, demonstrators chanted the chant, and lebron james in the warm-up wore the shirt as sport has been drawn into the argument over police killings of unarmed black men. and the royals, by attending, were drawn in a little, too. just as their visit to the 9/11 memorial became a little more topical than planned on a day when the u.s. response to terrorism has been questioned. this was the royals a little out of their glossy magazine comfort zone other according to "vanity fair" magazine writer josh duboff. >> this is the first time they've stepped foot in new york this week so i think they kind of had this other-worldly feel to them a little bit. >> reporter: how the duke and duchess come across is something they take very seriously. in fact, scott, they've just
appointed a new hot spin doctor to manage their public image, an american. >> pelley: mark, thanks very much. carolina panthers quarterback cam newton fractured his back today when his pickup rolled in an accident in charlotte. newton is is in fair condition but it's not clear if he'll play on sunday. playing tonight on cbs, a holiday classic, marking its golden anniversary. we'll have that story next. >> i'm cute! i'm cute! she said i'm cute!
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the atlantic, and the flightave sled pulled by a team of reindeer. it happens every year in the longest running christmas tv special of all time, first broadcast 50 years ago this month. here's jim axelrod. >> reporter: next to the ones on the tree, it may be the light that lets us know christmas is almost here. >> he's got a shiny nose! >> reporter: a 1939 poem gave us rudolph, but 25 years later, rankin bass productions added sam the snowman, hermey the elf, yukon cornelius, and the abominable snowman and gave us all a holiday classic. richard goldschmidt is the company's historian. his home-- a rudolph museum. >> they're the classic, iconic christmas characters that we all identify with christmas. so it became part of our holidays. ♪ why don't i fit in >> reporter: rudolph took a team of animators in japan 18 months to complete. the technique was called
animagic. little figures, one rudolph was just four inches high, were built with actual joints and shot frame by frame to create movement. burl ives may have won an oscar for "the big country" in 1958, but his most enduring role, sam the snowman. snowman. 50 years later, ives fronts a show that still wins its time slot. >> you can tell it has heart and warmth that is lacking in most of the modern entertainment of today. ♪ rudolph the red nosed reindeer ♪ >> reporter: never has something so red also been so golden. >> merry christmas! >> reporter: jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: you can sees rudolph tonight at 8:00, 7:00 central on cbs. that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
the latest on a murder in hollywood . two up-and-coming stars killed as a famous boxer witnessed it all. >> we were on the scene just after a vh-1 star was shot by her husband before he turned the gun on himself. >> yeah. i got some crazy moves today. >> whatever it is, blessings in love and life. >> i'm praying for them too. >> he was a backup dancer to pharrell, chris brown and j. lo. >> it was a devastating thing. >> but what led to the murder-suicide while they were face-timing floyd mayweather jr.? >> we'll show you exclusive video from eyewitnesses as the friends open up about the tragedy. >> she will never ever be forgotten. she is so loved. >> then, we were in new york last night, and there was a lot of royalty in the barclay center. ♪